Sound advice and in theory something that should come naturally. But it seems appropriate to consider the truth of this observation by Albert Einstein:
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not."
The first day rides in Montana and Italy would provide quite a contrast in what, in theory, were to be pleasant introductions to the tours ...
Enjoy the Ride - CGY
Today we rode 59.5 miles from Red Lodge to Absarokee, putting in 1,529 feet of climbing.
|The route from Red Lodge to Absarokee|
The ride to the first rest stop at Joliette was flat and fast. We were riding through ranch country and you might imagine cowboys out tending their herds or riding fence lines. In fact, I did see one of these hard working man-horse pairs early in the ride...
|I waved, but he seemed not to notice|
|Fields glowing in the late morning light|
|A nice series of rollers on the way to our lunch stop|
|I was really hoping taking a picture was not provocative|
We finished out the ride, going the last couple of miles to the camp at the local high school where the tents were set up on the athletic field. Even Bill could not find shade here.
|Camp in Absarokee|
A nice day and I did enjoy the ride.
Enjoy the Ride - Piedmont
Today we rode 26.7 miles from Alessandria to Acqui Terme, putting in 2,598 feet of climbing.
|The route from Alessandria to Acqui Terme|
Without keeping you in suspense any longer, my bags arrived at about 7:30 am on this Sunday morning, the day we would set out on our first ride, one that would bring us from Alessandria to Acqui Terme. I unpacked and assembled the bike on the sidewalk in front of the hotel and as I was finishing up, it started to rain. John and Julio received the bikes they had rented from Giro Libero, the company providing us support in the form of hotel reservations and carrying our bags from town to town, and we waited for the meeting that was mentioned in our ride notes. The rain got progressively heavier as we waited and eventually we decided that "meeting" really meant "meet in the lobby to pick up the rented bikes then start riding." So, we set out.
This "setting out" was not what you are probably thinking. It was very late in the morning and, given the weather, we had some concerns about the suggested 80 mile route. But we thought we would give it a go and left the hotel in a now dumping rain making it difficult to see, among other things. There was considerable uncertainty as to how to actually get out of town so when we reached the train station, we huddled and decided to plot our own course, a shorter, more direct route. We went back by the hotel then finally out of town, John having done a remarkable job of navigating.
|Wandering around (black) and finally getting out of town (red)|
Once we got going, things smoothed out. The rain stopped after about an hour and the rest of the morning was cloudy and cool but dry. We figured out our route by looking at towns between Alessandria and Acqui then loading a route into our GPS units connecting them.
After 15 miles on gently rolling terrain, we turned off onto a narrow, winding rural road. And we went UP. The climb alternated between 8% and 14 % with only a few 5% respites. It was a foreshadowing of things to come. At the top of this first climb, we managed to find an open restaurant in the town of Mombaruzzo where we enjoyed the first of many marvelous on-the-road meals. It was a nice, white-table-cloth kind of place, so we offered to sit outside, being somewhat disheveled as we were. But the proprietor would not hear of it and personally ushered us in.
|Mombaruzzo - the first of many towns situated at the end of long climbs|
|Across the valley from the second climb of the day|
|Yes, we sampled a few ...|
|Remnants of an aqueduct in Acqui Terme|
The CGY ride got off to a great start. The Piedmont ride was a bit more of a challenge. Of course, as has been pointed often by a distinguished panel of British philosophers ...
"You can't always get what you want. ..."
"... But if you try sometimes you find you get what you need."
Sometimes, you need to try really hard!